using cloth nappies whilst being a working shift work mum

As some of you may know, I work shift work. I do early, afternoon, and night shifts. There is absolutely no routine in my career, and many times this can be frustrating.

I envy those who are able to book in to hobby classes or workshops. I also envy those who have never experienced the absolute exhaustion of working day and night shifts and never catching up on the sleep lost during night shift.

So how do I make it work doing shift work and cloth nappies?

Plan ahead

I always make sure I have enough nappies to last me until my next day off. If not I make time to wash nappies before or after a shift and ensure I have enough time for them to dry before they run out. Being winter at the moment, it’s really important that I allow enough time for nappies to dry before I run out.

When all else fails, I ask my partner to hang up the nappies as I go to work.

I use drawer dividers from Ikea to keep my cloth nappies under the change table

Pick the appropriate nappy

I pick nappies that are quick drying. For this reason I prefer pocket nappies. Pocket nappies take minimal preparation and many inserts may be put in the dryer (just check with the company before you invest in any). You can add boosters to the nappies to personalize the absorbency. I also like how you take them apart for washing. My favourite pocket nappies to date are Funki Bums as they come with an insert and booster, they’re well made and also the cheapest I have found. They also do a super cheap bamboo nappy that is my “go to” night time nappy.

I have a handful of all-in-one nappies. If you are looking into buying these nappies I would recommend one’s that have the inserts sewn in like flaps instead of completely sewn in. This really helps drying time, but unlike the pocket nappies they cannot be put in the dryer. The all-in-one’s I use are Bumgenius Freetime. My partner likes putting these on as they only require 4 snaps in total but I don’t really see the difference in time between these and a pocket nappy. The time you gain in no preparation you lose in drying time (especially in winter).

Brains over brawn

If you are busy working, you may find it worth while investing in some extras to help you stay on track.

For me, it was vital I have a nappy sprayer and a Spray Pal. The nappy sprayer can be purchased from Bunnings for less than $20 as a sink sprayer. My partner (aka ultimate handy man) installed it for me one afternoon. I am also a fan of the Spray Pal- because let’s face it, the less you have to deal with poop the better!

For others who work fulltime, have multiples, or a busy household you may be interested in a nappy service. These little gems are popping up everywhere and if you are struggling with washing and drying you may want to invest in a laundry service. They pick up your used nappies and drop off fresh, clean, dry nappies to your door!

Have a back up plan

Some days when I am going out, or I have just ran out of cloth nappies (hey! I’m not perfect!), I use my back up disposable nappies. It’s not all the time but I do what is realistic for me and my family. Some mothers have more of a routine than others, but unfortunately with my career I have no routine. That’s okay though, it just means I don’t hold myself to the same standards anymore as those other professional WAHM’s who seem to do it all and then some.


Whether you have shift work or are a stay at home parents, anyone can use cloth nappies even if it’s just a few a week.